Beetle scourge forces ash loggers to race against time

WALTON, N.Y. (AP) — Loggers are cutting down more ash trees this winter before a fast-spreading beetle kills them all.

The emerald ash borer has been chewing its way through trees in the eastern United States and beyond for about two decades. That has meant an ever-shrinking map for ash logging even as the wood’s popularity grew because of demand from China. Crews are out in upstate New York this winter but there are fewer pockets of healthy ash trees.

With maybe only five or seven years of regional ash harvests left, loggers cut what they can when they can.

The beetle was first discovered stateside in 2002 in Michigan and has since destroyed tens of millions of ash trees in more than 30 states from Maine to Colorado. The beetles kill almost every tree they attack.

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